WHL to hand out league awards

Kootenay Ice bench boss Ryan McGill is the Eastern Conference nominee for coach of the year.

The WHL hands out year-end awards in Calgary on Wednesday, and Kooteany Ice bench boss Ryan McGill is the Eastern Conference nominee for the Dunc McCallum trophy as coach of the year.

After a shaky start to the season, the Ice reversed their fortunes in the second half of the year and catapulted into the playoffs for their 15th consecutive appearance.

McGill is facing off against Ryan Huska, the Western Conference nominee who coached the Kelowna Rockets to a record-breaking season in the B.C. Division.

The Rockets set a club record for most wins, wracking up 52 victories, along with another franchise record of 23 consecutive wins on home ice.

Former Kootenay Ice coach Cory Clouston won the award twice in 2005 and 2007, while his successor, Mark Holick, picked up the same hardware in 2010.

“If Ryan McGill is fortunate enough to win, that’d be four coaches in nine years, and that’d be something I’m very proud of,” said Ice general manager Jeff Chynoweth. “Having said that, Ryan Huska has done a great job with the Kelowna Rockets, not only this year, but throughout his career there, and they had a 52-win season, so it’ll be tough.”